On previous visits to dog events, we have always arrived after they have opened, with bustling crowds and lots of noise. However, when we arrived at the NEC to help set up our stand for The National Pet Show we found a remarkably quiet scene. Vendors and charities were busy chivying up their stands and the once 'naked' floors were being 'clothed' with lovely bright carpets. There were loads of carpet fitters who were kind and despite us disturbing them they made sure we could get to where we needed to be..... The Dachshund Rescue stand. Very soon the NEC looked very neat and tidy and was a credit to their staff who lay fresh carpets for every single show. With stands erected, and goods laid out, it was one very smart place to be, although it did look a bit like the Marie Celeste!
After our long drive and an afternoon's work, we were pleased to go to our hotel, for a bit of R & R, so we would be fit for the following two days. On Saturday riding in my new conveyance, a wonderful German cycle basket, we drove around among the crowds on Mum's scooter, gathering information and talking to people. Mum talked so much she lost her voice! But I did not woof one bark. There were lots of organisations we had not seen before, making The National Pet Show a much larger event than in previous years.
We know lots of people in the dog world and love renewing acquaintances, especially with our lovely nurse friends from Fitzpatrick Referrals. Josef's demise came as a surprise to them but they gave me a generous measure of their love and attention, which I lapped up with relish. What wonderfully caring people they are. We love them.
We had a self-imposed brief to concentrate on animal charities, but seemed to find more health related organisations at the show, many of which were new to us. We came home with wads of information so several articles are needed to cover them all, and we are happy to say that some people have agreed to write for us. Sharing information is so important in promoting canine health and welfare.
One of the first organisations we came across was Pet Savers, wh0's aim is "to improve the health of pets by relieving the distress and pain caused by diseases for which we currently have no effective treatment." Their role is to "fund clinical research into the prevention, treatment and/or cure of illnesses and conditions affecting pets so that companion animals can enjoy longer, fuller and healthier lives."
Founded by a group of veterinary surgeons, the charity continues today, spearheaded by vets and vet nurses. one of whom gave me a good old cuddle. Their information booklet is wide ranging and I suggest you click the link to their website: www.petsavers.org.uk
Another group we found was the Veterinary Tissue Bank, another first for us. Now we know that all pets are not 'just a dog' or 'just a cat', because we are family members, much loved in life and mourned in death and our humans often go to pieces for a while when they have to say goodbye to us as we leave for heaven.
Veterinary Tissue Bank are asking our humans to consider donating our bodies "to aid a ground breaking operation which processes and banks bone and soft tissue to provide grafts for badly injured pets." Of course, they realise how hard this might be for our humans, who are asked to register pets as donors. They told us that the owners wishes about disposal of the cremated remains are always honoured.
I think this may be hard for some pet people to get their heads around, but if you would like more information, please click www.petdonor.org
Next we met a wonderful doodle, working as a Canine Partner but he was a lttle camera shy! This charity creates wonderful partnerships between human and true working dogs.
Canine Partners is a registered charity that transforms the lives of people with physical disabilities by partnering them with assistance dogs. These dogs bring independence, a sense of security and companionship to their human partners, as well as helping them with day to day tasks. They rely upon public donation and legacies, and for more information click
We are always pleased to meet dogs with jobs, none more so than the search and rescue canines we saw with the Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service. These wonderful animals "assist in search efforts when someone gets lost or goes missing. They can help find people lost in the woods, elderly who wander away from their home and victims of accidents such as floods and fires." We are filled with admiration for the dangerous conditions they often work in, and thanked them very much for their service to us and our human companions.
In my opinion the dogs who work with the fire service, the Police and our armed forces are among the top heroes in the country.
Most Police dogs stay on with their families when they retire, and become simply wonderful pets. However, this situation is not always easy, particularly in regard to insurance. Most insurance companies are either unwilling to insure ex-Police dogs, or else demand exorbitant premiums, often beyond the owners ability to pay.
When this happens, the owners are faced with a real dilemma, and this is what prompted a kindly gentleman we met to start the Retired West Midlands Police Dog Benevolent fund.
'The Benevolent Fund is run completely independently from West Midlands Police & no members of the committee are employed by West Midlands Police.'
Around 10 dogs per year retire from the West Midlands Police , and as well as having normal dog ailments they may also suffer from the serious wear & tear that comes from years of vigorous training & working, just to keep us all safe and secure. Conditions such as arthritis, hip & knee injuries, torn ligaments, back & spinal problems are not unusual. Vet fees can be enormous, which is why the RWMPD Benevolent Fund help by paying for the ongoing care & treatment of Retired Police Dogs.
For these courageous Dogs, the Fund is a lifeline. They consider it a small price to pay for all of the hard work the dogs gave to serve & protect our communities. It is their way of saying ‘thanks’.
For more information click
Moving on, I was interested to find the Veterinary Medicines Directorate which is the government agency responsible for authorising and regulating veterinary medicines. www.gov.uk/vmd
We talked with their representative about the issue of getting vet meds from the internet, and they explained that a suitably qualified person selling such medicines on the internet must comply with the Veterinary Medicines Regulations. Sadly some do not and may supply unsafe products. The VMD advise that before you buy from the internet, you ensure that the site displays the accredited retailer logo.
After all this activity, and Mum with little voice left, it was time to take her for a coffee and some food before returning to our hotel to plan our visit the following day. In a little café area, we met the most handsome boy I have seen in a long time. Now you would think beagles would be active and ready to sniff anyone passing by. But Tobia who works with Bauwow, was a wise fellow, and after a busy day, all he really needed was a good old hug with his dad before going off to his hotel for a good night's sleep.
Sub-Editor, The Daxington Post HQ
9th November 2017